Spoilers are coming at a blur, so don’t say that you haven’t been warned!
Regular Cast: Grant Gustin (Barry Allen/The Flash), Candice Patton (Iris West), Danielle Panabaker (Caitlin Snow), Carlos Valdes (Cisco Ramon), Keiynan Lonsdale (Wally West), Tom Cavanagh (Dr. Harrison Wells), Jesse L. Martin (Joe West); Guest Starring: Tom Felton (Julian Albert), Violett Beane (Jesse Quick), Peter Flemming (John James), Joey King (Franke Kane/Magenta), Todd Lasance (Edward Clariss), Tobin Bell (Dr. Alchemy); Written by Judalina Neira and David Kob; Directed by Armen Kevorkian
What It’s About
Harrison Wells and his daughter, Jesse, return from Earth-2, because Jesse has developed speedster powers as the result of she and Wally being exposed to Dark Matter in the Time Vault in season two. Wells is desperate to get Barry to talk Jesse out of using her powers, but it quickly becomes obvious that that’s a force that no one can deter. Meanwhile, the meta-human Magenta, AKA Frankie Kane, unleashes her power of controlling metal when she’s threatened. This power is triggered by and directed towards her abusive foster father. As the Magenta portion of her mind moves to prominence, Frankie recedes.
There are some truly standout performances in this episode. Keiynan Lonsdale does a wonderful job of painting Wally’s jealousy, frustration and disappointment over the fact that Jesse, who was struck by the Dark Matter at the same time as him, is a speedster, while he’s not. This is a guy who just wants to help people and isn’t being allowed to. The performance could have very easily fallen into “whiney bitch” category, but thankfully doesn’t. As Jesse, there is a massive cute factor — we’re talking Melissa Benoist cute — to Violett Beane, whose enthusiasm to being a speedster is off the charts. And for the record, we just love having Tom Cavanagh back as Harrison Wells.
Praise to Joey King, who actually takes what could have been a villain of the week and turns in a vulnerable, affecting performance as Frankie Kane. As Megenta, she’s cold and ruthless (and admittedly a bit cartoony), but is something to watch when projecting Frankie’s buried pain. Her powers, Barry learns, comes from Dr. Alchemy, who has been transforming humans into their metahuman selves from the Flashpoint timeline.
Nice scene between Joe West and Wally, with father providing encouragement to son, given a hilarious punchline when he tells Barry about it, saying that with Wally he has to be nuanced to get through to him, but Barry has always been like a “second daughter,” because he never had a problem sharing his feelings. Gotta love Grant Gustin’s facial response.
Excellent effects sequence as Magenta hurls a police car into the air, and The Flash has to perform a mid-air rescue. Still amazing that this stuff can be pulled off so flawlessly on television. Additionally, there’s the moment where Magenta tries to kill her foster father in his hospital room with an ocean tanker, and Barry and Jesse have to work together to keep it from crashing into the hospital. Great sequence, made even better by the fact that it concludes with Barry appealing to the good within Jesse to stop it on her own. Genuinely touching moment.
Towards the end, as Frankie describes the dreams and voice in her head that ultimately resulted in Alchemy turning her to Magenta, from their facial expressions it seems that Wally and Caitlin know all too well what she’s talking about.
Good father/daughter scene between Wells and Jesse, with him finally recognizing Jesse’s desire to use her speed to be a hero, culminating in her being given a Flash outfit created by he and Cisco.
What Doesn’t Work
Not much, actually. Barry and Iris start dating, and it’s a completely awkward affair, the two of them seemingly having nothing to talk about. That’s a bit unbelievable in its own right, but the solution’s not much better: that because Barry is trying not to be himself and denying the part of him that’s The Flash — mostly because of Iris’ request — things aren’t getting off to a good start. Eventually they realize he’s got to be true to himself, and that seems to be correcting things. Whatever.
As much as we've praised Wally in this episode, there’s a moment where, upon learning that Jesse sort of jump-started her powers, he moves in front of a moving car and has to be rescued by her. As desperate as the character is, it’s a lamebrain move.
There’s now a Speed Lab component to Star Labs, which Barry, Wells and Jesse (the latter two because they're on Earth-2, and therefore in a different timeline) have never been in before. Also, the bond between Joe and Wally seems much stronger now that it had before the timeline was changed.